A coffee table plant is an instant and inexpensive way to add style and inject colour and personality to your space.
When choosing a pot to go with your plant, look for features that complement (not compete with) the foliage. If you want the plant to be the star, pick a pot with a simple design or neutral colours. If it’s the pot you want to show off, choose understated foliage.
As with all indoor plants, give your coffee table companion an outdoor holiday occasionally, taking care not to place it in direct sunlight or it may burn.
1. Phalaenopsis orchid
For colour and grace, you can’t beat a Phalaenopsis orchid. Flowers usually appear in shades of purple, white (or both) and with the right care, can last for months. Phalaenopsis orchids love humidity, which you can recreate by misting the plant on hot days. You can also stand the pot on a tray of pebbles. This keeps the pot from sitting in water, which can lead to rot or fungus.
2. Cacti and succulents
With so many cacti and succulents to choose from, the combinations you can create are endless. Score a style trifecta with three plants together in a pot or choose a couple of favourites for smaller pots and group together. Cacti and succulents are low care, making them an obvious choice for the forgetful gardener.
3. Boston fern
With a mass of frilly fronds, a small Boston fern is a great way to add a touch of the tropics to your living space. The Boston fern loves the indoors but also likes humidity, so make sure soil is kept damp. It will also benefit from sitting on a tray of pebbles filled with water or a light mist once or twice a week.
4. String of pearls
This little gem features plump round foliage strung together by thread-like stems, making it not only stylish but also a great conversation starter. As a succulent, this plant can survive long stretches without water. String of pearls can be toxic. Take care in homes with pets or children.
5. Venus fly trap
Captivating and useful, a Venus fly trap will capture and devour any bug that dares buzz around its gaping jaws. Although they can last a month or two without eating, if your plant isn’t catching enough insects, give it a monthly feed with a foliar spray at a rate of no more than one tenth the recommended strength. Learn more about carnivorous plants.
6. Spider plant
This spiky number with vibrant green and white striped foliage is easy to grow and particularly good at removing toxins from the air. The spider plant is also tough, making it an excellent candidate for the gardening newbie or those with a black thumb.
7. Maidenhair fern
If you need to soften things up, the fine, small leaves of the maidenhair fern are the perfect foil for strong, defined shapes like books, frames and industrial-style coffee tables. The maidenhair fern is a thirsty plant, so make sure its soil is well draining and kept moist.
With its upright growth habit and thick, hard foliage, eye-catching sansevieria adds drama and a focal point to your space, without blocking your view of the TV. Another benefit of this plant is it thrives on neglect, so if you want to kill it, you had better put in some effort.